BRESCIA – The old Cathedral
THE OLD CATHEDRAL
The Duomo Vecchio, the Old Catholic Cathedral of Brescia in Italy stands right next to the Duomo Nuovo or New Cathedral. It is officially known as the Winter Co-Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, while its recent counterpart takes the name of the Summer Cathedral.
It’s also called “La Rotunda” thanks to its unusual round layout. In fact, it’s one of the most important examples of a Romanesque round church here in Italy.
While some claim earlier examples, documents point out that the Duomo Vecchio was built in the 11th century on the site of a priory church laid out like a basilica. Further proof of its age is that circular churches became very rare after the Council of Trent.
In the 19th century most additions to the original building were removed, but the entrance portal survives. It contains the medieval Crypt of San Filastrio, the beatified Brescian bishop as well as the striking red marble sarcophagus of Bishop Berardo Maggi (1308).
The Duomo Vecchio boasts iconic artworks like “l’Assunta” (1526) and “St. Luke, St. Mark and the sleeping Elijah” (1533 – 34) by Moretto da Brescia. “Gathering Manna” by Gerolamo Romanino and a translation of “The Bodies of Saints” by Francesco Maffei also reside here.
THE ORGAN (The restoration of the organ in in progress)
In 1536, Gian Giacomo Antegnati built an organ for the cathedral. Interestingly, as well as being one of the most admired organ builders of his time, he was also the organist at St. Euphemia’s Church in Brescia.
The organ was restored and enlarged in 1826 by Serassi of Bergamo, another master of his art who leaves his mark to this day.
Despite tastes having hanged over 300 years, Serassi retained the most part of Antegnati’s masterpiece including a great deal of the old pipework: a clear sign that he admired the older master’s work.
It bears the 19th century inscription: “N°.416 / Fratelli Serassi / Bergamo 1826”.
The restoration of the organ will begin on the 20 th of February 2017, using many techniques that both Antegnati and Serassi would still recognise.
Considerable attention will be given to the pipework, much of which is in poor condition and weakened by “tin cancer” : a frequent hazard in northern Italian buildings of ancient times.
Organ by Gian Giacomo Antegnati 1536 – Serassi 1826
Keyboard of 61 keys (F-1/F5)
Pedalboard of 24 pedals (C/a2) but only 12 notes
Combinazione libera alla lombarda
LEFT STOPS COLUMN
CLARONI NE’ BASSI*
VIOLONCELLO NE’ SOPRANI*
VIOLA NE’ BASSI*
FLAUTO IN OTTAVA
FLAUTO IN DUODECIMA
TIMBALLI ALLI PEDALI*
*stops added by Serassi in 1826
RIGHT STOPS COLUMN
PRINCIPALE PRIMO BASSI
PRINCIPALE PRIMO SOPRANI
PRINCIPALE SECONDO BASSI*
PRINCIPALE SECONDO SOPRANI*
VIGESIMA SESTA E NONA
TRIGESIMA TERZA E SESTA*
QUADRIGESIMA E QUADRIGESIMA TERZA*
CONTRABASSI CON OTTAVA*